There are several reasons why I’m dreamily reminiscing about my trip around eastern Canada this time last year; we made it in time for the seasonal falling of the leaves, AND my travel agent helped me design a holiday I never would have imagined: driving a cruise campervan around eastern Canada for 10 days! This year is Canada’s 150th birthday so why not talk about how great it is?
Canada was always on my list, but when my boyfriend and I started thinking about planning a trip there we thought it would be really expensive and out of reach, however going through a travel agent paid off straight away! Our agent pointed out that flying to Toronto from London is much cheaper than it’s ever been before, and to our delight she found us flights for £350 each – an absolute bargain!
The whole point of visiting Canada was to try and see as much as possible of the country, even though we knew we’d be limited as we were only going for two weeks. With this in mind we booked a cruise campervan – something I’d never before considered – and it was amazing! It included two double beds, a bathroom with a shower, a kitchen and a dining room – it was like the Doctor Who tardis! We then set about designing our itinerary using our travel agent as a source of knowledge for where to go and she helped us squeeze as much of it in as possible considering Canada’s size.
Our package included 1,500km which meant this was how far we could drive before having to pay for more distance. So in our 25 foot, 3 metre high automatic campervan our route began in Toronto then onto campsites around Georgian Bay, Wasaga beach and finally up to Algonquin Provincial Park where we enjoyed the turning of the leaves the most.
We learnt that the trees change their colours because they stop using the sunshine for their food making process. Instead they prepare for winter by breaking down the chlorophyll and absorb the nutrients left over in the green leaves. The chemical process results in the changing colours.
On one brilliant day when the sun was warm and the sky was Disney blue, we trekked around a lake in Algonquin Park to see the beaver dams. As we walked under the trees, the colours above us changed from green, to yellow, orange and to fiery red. The number of photos we took never did the colours justice!
Top tip for driving a campervan
Our top driving tip is not to drive for three hours with a full load of water (30 gallons) like we once did. Instead wait to top up the van at the next site which is much more efficient for your fuel gauge. Before setting off each morning, check your next campsite’s information for water amenities, waste disposal units and electricity hook ups. Canadian campsites vary from ‘front country’ to ‘back country’ like a difficulty star rating and not all of them have all the amenities.
Top tip for researching your destination
It is always good to do your research for a destination to avoid the crowds as it puts less pressure on the environment and also means you have a quieter more relaxed travelling experience. Our research told us the best time to see the fall is the last week of September and the first week of October and it’s also when all the children go back to school.
Top tips for camping in Canada
A couple of camping tips for a Canadian road trip are: One, never transport fire logs between campsites as trees and bugs vary tremendously; follow park rules or else you’ll be liable to pay hefty fines if found out! Two, never feed wildlife or get too close. Black bears roam the forests in eastern Canada, so campers must be careful and follow park rules. When we first saw a pamphlet warning us about black bears on our first night, it scared us but we soon got used to it, kept a look out and it soon became part of the adventure.
And my final overarching tip is use a travel agent! Without using an agent we wouldn’t have known where to start, our agent’s knowledge really was invaluable!